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29 November 2013

FIFA has to stop sacrificing workers’ lives

Two Brazilian construction workers died last 27 November 2013 in the Corinthians Stadium in Sao Paulo after a crane collapsed on the stadium roof. This loss of lives validates the warning of BWI and its affiliates in Brazil that rushing to meet deadlines can be dangerous to the workers. BWI calls on FIFA and the Brazilian government to thoroughly investigate the case and penalize those who are at fault.

The fatal accident adds to the list of tragic loss of lives for the glory of FIFA’s ‘Beautiful Game’. In June 2012, a 21-year old worker died after he fell of 30 meters in the National Stadium in Brasilia and in March 2013 another worker fell to his death in Amazonia in Manaus.

In Sao Paulo, Fábio Luiz Pereira, 42, is the Munck driver-operator of company BHM and Ronaldo Oliveira dos Santos, 44, is an assembler of the company Connected. The touted biggest crane in South America broke as it was hoisting a structure therefore damaging the roof and hitting Fabio who was driving one of the trucks involved in the operation and Ronaldo who was resting in his lunch break.

BWI affiliates in Brazil - including the SINTRAPAV-SP (Industries Workers Union of Heavy Construction, Infrastructure and related services in the State of Sao Paulo) - have been warning from the beginning of the constructions that FIFA should not ignore the proposal to include guidelines of Decent Work in the World Cup. Moreover, they stated that the indiscriminate outsourcing is dangerous to the lives of workers. They have undertaken 25 strikes since 2011 to ensure fair wages and safe workplaces.

Ambet Yuson, BWI General Secretary lamented that, “4 workers have died building the 2014 World Cup stadiums. Moreover, workers have been facing accidents and non-compliance of the labour laws. Until when will deaths be part of World Cups? It is sad that this will be the legacy of World Cup for the Brazilians workers. FIFA, the construction companies and their sub-contractors as well as the Brazilian government have to do more to prevent such tragedy.”

BWI reiterated its call for FIFA to include ILO Decent Work standards in the contracts with host countries. Yuson pointed out that, “we will see further accidents in the next editions of FIFA events. Russia 2018 has 5 deaths reported and in Qatar, which is hosting the 2022 edition, 44 workplace deaths were reported just in the 2-month period of summer this year. It is no longer possible that FIFA will continue acting as if they have no responsibility for the infrastructure works for the mega- sporting events. This is another RED CARD for FIFA”.